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We could all use a little more Yin in our lives

September 8, 2016 by Gail Asbell

At Home Yin Practice

Yin is a beautiful restorative practice. One that we could all use a little more of in our lives. Whether you have five or 500 minutes on your hands bringing a little Yin practice into your home can be really add to you Yin practice.  You can also use any cushions, pillows, blankets, or furniture around you to make sure you’re supported and comfortable.

Here are some great yin poses that you can do in isolation or all at once for some lengthening and rejuvenating. Each pose (or side) should be held for around 4 minutes).

Supta baddha konasana (aka supported bound angle pose)

 This is a very restorative pose. You start on your back, with a bolster or long pillow, running the length of your spine, supporting your head as well. You then bring the soles of your feet together and let your knees fall out nice and wide. This pose will start to open up the hips, inner thighs, spine, and chest. It’s a beautiful way to start a yin practice and it allows the body to slowly start to open.

Sleeping Swan (aka Half Pigeon Pose)

Starting on the right side from all fours, bring your right knee behind your right wrist, with your right foot towards your left wrist. That shin can be as parallel to the front of your mat (or space) as feels comfortable. Your left leg should be long and straight behind you. Softening both hips to the ground. You can use props underneath your elbows or forehead to make lowering your chest to the ground more comfortable. You can also use a blanket or pillow under your right hip for more support. Repeat on both sides.

This pose works to open up the outside of your hips, also working into your glutes and thighs. On a more energetic level, it targets the liver and helps to rid the body of anger and frustration.

Saddle or Half Saddle (aka Hero Pose)

To come into the full variation of this pose, you start in a Japanese seat, shins tucked underneath you, hips onto your heels. From here you widen your feet, allowing your hips to lower onto the mat. This may be enough through your quadriceps, knees, and ankles. But for more, start to lower yourself down onto your elbows, or even all the way down onto your back. It can be nice to place a hard pillow behind your spine for added support.

This full variation is a very deep stretch. To do one side at a time, keep one leg as instructed above, while the other leg opens out, letting that shin become parallel to the front of your mat.

This pose works into the quadriceps, knees, and ankles. While also opening up the chest and lower back as it becomes a backbend as you lower yourself to the mat. On an energetic level, it targets the stomach and spleen, which can help rid the body of worry and concern.

Forward Fold

There are a lot of ways to forward bend in yin. One way is to have both legs straight out in front of you, in a seated position, and simply lower your chest towards your legs. Another way is to bring your feet together, knees wide and fold, or you can bring your legs out nice and wide and fold forward between the legs. You can try and see which feels best for your spine and which allows for the deepest release. It can be nice to place pillows in front of you so you can land on something, if you don’t reach your legs (which most of us don’t).

Forward folds, in yin especially, are very calming for the entire system.

Savasana

Even at home on your own it’s important to come into a savasana to give the body time to rest from the postures. Lying down on your back, extend both legs forward and let the feet naturally fall out to the sides. Then bring your arms down beside you with your palms facing up. It can feel very nice to have a pillow under you knees – it supports the lower back.

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